Arts Commissioners

Marcy Toscher, Chair

Committees: Grants, Budget, Public Art, and Municipal Collection

The love of art in all of its iterations and the love of Ojai in its pink and other moments,  compelled me to join the Arts Commission in 2016. Currently serving as Chair of the Commission, I have lived a life of interior design while collecting art, antiques, experiences, friendships, and travel adventures. I enjoy being surrounded by Ojai’s creative vortex. The experiences,  friendships and lessons learned while serving on the Commission is perhaps my most noteworthy collection to date!

Nigel Chisholm, Vice Chair

Committees: Awards, Grants, and S.A.M.

Recipient of the 2019 Hope Frazier Award which recognizes outstanding contributions to the artistic life of Ojai, Nigel has fostered, incubated and, provided multiple community hubs for artists of all descriptions to grow their art in positive and supportive environments. He believes that art truly fosters community, understanding, and helps to break down social barriers. His continuing goal is to bring art into all areas of the Ojai mosaic.

 

Christine Golden

Committees: Public Art

Christine Golden’s fascination with public art started long ago when, as an elementary school teacher, she wrote and conducted a student tour of the world renowned public art in downtown Chicago. Golden relocated to Ojai in 2001 and assumed the role of Principal of Matilija Junior High School. Inspired by the natural beauty of Ojai, she soon retired to pursue painting. Having garnered awards as a landscape artist, and prior to being appointed to the Arts Commission in 2007, Golden formed TOPA Group, a plein aire group of local landscape painters. In addition to taking a leadership role in all aspects of the City’s Public Art Ordinance, including the recent adoption of a Mural Ordinance, Golden devised and wrote the Public Art brochure that features four area tours of the over 40 public artworks found within the City limits. Golden has an undergraduate degree in Art and an MA and EdD in Educational Leadership from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

Smitty West

Committees: Arts Education, Public Relations, and S.A.M.

A 25-year resident of the Ojai Valley, Smitty is a well-known musician, songwriter, artist, and civic leader. He is the owner/manager of Euterpe Farms, Native Plants and Music, where he operates his art, music, and farming interests. He joined the Commission during the pandemic, and produced music videos under the Ojai COVID Sessions label, and is currently producing Ojai Public Art Tours videos that are broadcast on Channel 10 and social media. An Ojai Living Treasure, past vice-president of the Ojai Music Festival, and past-president of Rotary Club of Ojai, he is running out of stuff to do!

Christine Steiner

Committees: Grants, Municipal Collection, Awards, and Public Art

Christine Steiner is an experienced art lawyer, handling transactions on behalf of diverse art-related clients such as museums, cultural organizations, collectors, artists, artist estates, foundations, auction houses, creative businesses and universities. Prior to private practice, she served as Secretary and General Counsel of the J. Paul Getty Trust, as Assistant General Counsel of the Smithsonian Institution, as Assistant Attorney General of Maryland for state colleges and universities, and as Principal Counsel of the Maryland state public education system.

She is also an adjunct professor of law at Loyola Law School in visual arts law, and has been a visiting professor in programs of international art law in Florence and Cambridge. She speaks frequently on art law topics, currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of the Copyright Society of the United States, and is active in the arts nationally. She is author of numerous publications, including a recent law review article on Art Law and the Copyright Chapter of MRM5. She has been recognized consistently by Best Lawyers, the prestigious national peer-ranking organization, for her contributions to Art Law.

Santiago St. James

Committees: S.A.M. and Arts Education

Santiago is passionate about assisting organizations with equitable, sustainable, and compassionate missions and programming. His nonprofit experience, arts and culture expertise, and passion for creative leadership make him a valuable resource for non-profits, cultural centers, and charitable causes. His work has included strategic planning, organizational development, social media management, donor management, and communications design. In 2021 he was inducted by Ojai City Council to be on the Ojai Arts Commission. Santiago received a BFA from Pratt Institute in Photography and Creative Writing in 2016.